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Friday, December 23, 2016

God Is My Guard Rail

As you may or may not know,  I still have a teenager at home, and let me tell you - he's not an easy one!  He was always my very well behaved, polite, sweet, loving, affectionate, mama's boy.  He was an extremely easy baby, easy toddler, easy child.  So when he turned 14 or 15 and started pushing his limits to the max and became rebellious, I was quite stunned!  Many times, things can get worse before they get better, and boy did they!  I've had many people binding together with me in prayer for my son.  It had gotten to the point that there really wasn't much else I could do.  I don't mean to say that in a way that minimizes prayer.  Honestly, prayer is the BEST thing we can do!   I also don't expect that all of my teenage battles are over.  I think we're in remission for now.  
Anyway,  one day last week, as I was talking to God about my son,  I felt like He spoke back to me.
 I was asking God why my son has to go through this stage, why he's being so rebellious, why he doesn't learn from the mistakes of his brother or friends, why he doesn't just listen to me.  After all, I love him and want what's best for him. I don't want him to have to learn things the hard way.   I could hear God, as clear as a bell asking me, "Why did you rebel against me for so long?  Don't you know that I love you? Don't you know that I want what's best for you too?  Why did you have to learn the hard way? " Even as I'm typing this, I have tears in my eyes.  My eyes tear up every time I think about it.  He's so right!!  I rebelled against God, my Father who loves me, just like my son is doing.  So, even I had to go astray and learn the hard way that my way doesn't work.  God's ways are higher than mine.  When I finally realized that,  and was ready to submit to HIS authority, I came home like the prodigal son (daughter in my case.)   Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy way acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

Because of all the teenageritis I've been dealing with, I've been reading a few different books that friends have recommended.  One of them is, Boundaries with Teens by Dr. John Townsend.  Today, one paragraph stood out to me.  In regards to holding our ground as parents and holding healthy and strong boundaries, it said this :
"God made parents to be the guard rails on the twisting road of life. You need to be strong enough for kids to crash into over and over and over again. You must stay strong, so that your teens will learn to stay on track. Guard rails get dinged up. But if they work well, they preserve the young lives that run up against them."

Townsend, John (2009-05-18). Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No (p. 32). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

I couldn't help but think about how many times in my life that God has done exactly that with me.  He has been my guard rail more times than I can count!  How many times has God preserved my life?!  How many times have I crashed, and He has saved me?!  Thankfully, He's a big God.  He can handle the dings I give Him.  I honestly don't even know anymore what I'd do without Him guiding me.  What an awesome Father He is!!

I'm hoping I will learn a lot about how to raise my teen boy so that he will become a Godly and honorable man, but I have a feeling I'll also be learning a lot more about myself and how my Heavenly Father parents and loves me, and that's definitely not a bad thing. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

A New Creation

Last week, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that got me thinking a little.  His status said this:  This may sound weird, but ever since I've decided to follow Christ I feel out of place amongst old friends...It's like I'm trying to find my place in this world all over again..... By no means, am I perfect, and I enjoy people and a beer, but man do I feel weird....
I responded that it's not weird at all because when you become a Christian, you become a new creation in Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new."  As Christians, we are supposed to be set apart from the world.  We shouldn't be comfortable with sin/our old ways.  I'm not saying that having a beer once in a while or still hanging with your friends is necessarily sin.  However, if these friends haven't given their lives to Christ,  then nothing about them has changed, unlike my friend!  There are many verses in the Bible about being set apart.  One that comes to mind is Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  It makes sense to me that he would feel a little weird.  I would assume since his friends have not changed, they're probably still behaving the same way, doing the same things, talking the same way, living the same way they always have, while he thinks, acts, speaks, and lives differently now.  It's a good example of how light and darkness can't coexist.  If you turn on the light, the light overtakes the darkness.  If you shut off the light, darkness overtakes the light.  It can't be both light and dark. It just doesn't work!  It's like he has turned on the light, but they still want to live in the dark.  It wouldn't surprise me if his friends feel a little weird as well.  Light tends to expose things that are hiding in the dark. 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" I do wish my friend well as he finds his place in this dark world.  It's definitely not always easy, and the Lord never said it would be.  However difficult, though, the reward will be worth it in the end!

P.S. I apologize that this post looks kinda funky.  I have tried several times to fix it, with no luck.  Thanks for reading it anyway.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chip and Joanna Gaines...Take 2!

This was written by a friend of mine, Jennifer Jones, and I wanted to post it here on my blog because it's so good!  Facebook has deleted it from every place that she posted it, as well as from anyone else's page who shared it.  That is unacceptable!  So, here is folks.  Read it, share it, post it on Facebook if you'd like!!  Now, I'm giving the floor to Jennifer:

My original post from 2013 began with a paragraph or two about Phil Robertson and his comments in GQ on marriage. I've deleted those as they're not relevant. However, I do mention him throughout as it relates to his paraphrasing of 1 Corinthians 6. The article in Buzzfeed and the author's intentions about the Gaines and their church's teaching on homosexuality is what reminded me of my original post (from 2013). This post (today's reposting of original) was deleted earlier, so I also cut out the paragraph about Chip and Joanna (darling family)...wasn't much, but I thought this time I'll just get right to it. Here it is... How come every time a line is drawn people (including some Christians) throw down the "Judgement" card? If I choose to have the Bible as the foundation of my faith, I can't omit scriptures that might be offensive. And just because I draw a line, can I not love, too? If my child does something wrong and I say, "You can't do that. That's wrong." Does that mean I don't love them? No. It does not. So I can quote scriptures like the one Phil did in Corinthians {1 Cor. 6:9-10} and love at the same time. I can draw a line against certain behaviors and love at the same time. Just because I, or any other Christian, quotes a Scripture that plainly states a particular activity is a sin, doesn't mean we're judging people and that we're full of hate. Now, about that scripture. Christians didn't lump murderers {again referencing Phil's comments} in with homosexuals; God did. Some would say that's so wrong and mean and how can you serve a God that does that? Well, I'll tell you how. Imagine you're sitting at a table across from God, and you're holding a bunch of cards with labels on them. Sitting in the middle of the table there's a bucket that says "BIG SINS." You begin to drop cards into the bucket: Anger, Murder, Homosexuality, Rape, Adultery, Pornography, and so on. You drop these cards in the bucket, very satisfied and turn to get up. But...God says," Where are you going? You're still holding some cards there." You reply, "Yes, but these are 'little sins,’ Lord. They are not very bad." He says, "Really? Let me see them." So you sit back down, and show Him your cards. He begins to drop them into the bucket. You Gasp. "What are You doing, Lord? Those aren't 'BIG SINS.’ Those are things I've done before." He says, “I know. Let's look at this one here: Gossip. What did I say in Proverbs about gossiping? I believe I said 'I hate it.' Let's look at another one: Fearful. Revelations says the fearful are the first ones cast into the lake of fire after judgment. What about unforgiveness? You know those people that have talked about you and said evil things about you? Do you love them?" If this were me having this conversation, I would have to say, "No, Lord, I do not love them." And He would say, "OK, then we have to drop Unforgiveness into the bucket." While looking at all the cards in the bucket you say, "Wow. So, You're lumping some of the things I've done in with murderers? You're comparing me to all those other really bad people and the really bad things they've done?" And He says, "Yes. I am. My Word says 'ALL have sinned' uncategorically." Thankfully the conversation doesn't end here, and this is what I would like for every homosexual to understand. They don't have to accept it or believe it, just understand it. So, to the homosexual I want to finish the conversation. God says, "What if we take this bucket that you're carrying around, this bucket full of sins, and move it away?" As soon as He does this, there's an offer on the table that we can now see because the bucket is gone. This offer is in the shape of a cross and it's drenched in blood. God stands up, extends His arms and says, "This offer is available to you, to everyone. Come here Murderer, Raper, Homosexual, Unforgiver, Fearful, Gossiper, Liar, Greedy, Self-Righteous, Violent, Prideful, Prostitute, Fornicator, etc. I don't care what sin is in your bucket, bring it to me." We pause because the offer is appealing. The idea of not carrying around cards with labels on them -- labels that we're guilty of, labels that can become our identity -- is appealing. The choice is totally and completely ours to make. He merely extends His mercy to us. If we accept the offer, we have to crawl through the blood drenched cross, and, then, we can sit down next to Him. At this point, He says, "My, Child, a new Scripture applies to you now. My Word says, 'And such WERE some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...’" 1 Cor. 6:11. So you see homosexual person, I'm not condemning you; rather, I'm just like you. I'm a sinner, too. I believe homosexuality is a sin just like I believe lying is a sin. I believe these things because the Bible is the foundation for my faith and the Bible says these things are sins. The only difference between me and you is this: I accepted the offer...